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HeadlinesMarch 25, 2024

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At Least 137 People Killed in ISIS-Claimed Attack on Moscow Concert Hall

Mar 25, 2024

In Russia, the death toll has risen to 137 from an attack on a popular concert hall in Moscow on Friday. Authorities say gunmen opened fire inside a sold-out rock concert and then set ablaze part of the venue, the Crocus City Hall. More than 100 people were also injured, many in critical condition.

Authorities in Russia have detained 11 people, including four men from Tajikistan who appeared in court today. They all appeared to have been badly beaten, possibly during interrogations. One suspect, who was in a wheelchair, seemed to lose consciousness during the court session. Reuters reports he may have had an eye missing. An affiliate of the Islamic State, ISIS-K, has claimed responsibility and posted video of the attack. Russian authorities have suggested Ukraine was involved in the attack, a claim strongly denied by Kyiv. We’ll have more on the story after headlines.


Israel Continues to Starve Gaza, Blocking Food Aid as It Escalates Attack on Gaza’s Ailing Hospitals

Mar 25, 2024

Horrifying accounts continue to come from Gaza City, where Israel’s raid on Al-Shifa Hospital has entered a second week. Israeli forces have killed at least 170 at the hospital and detained another 400. Survivors of the raid have told Al Jazeera that Israeli tanks and armored bulldozers have driven over bodies and ambulances. Israeli forces are also attacking two other hospitals in Gaza.
Meanwhile, the head of the U.N. Palestinian aid agency UNRWA says Israel is now denying access to all UNRWA food convoys to northern Gaza even though the region is on the brink of famine. On Saturday, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres traveled to the Rafah border crossing.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “A long line of blocked relief trucks on one side of the gates, the long shadow of starvation on the other. That is more than tragic. It is a moral outrage.”

Kamala Harris Warns Against Israeli Invasion of Rafah, Does Not Rule Out “Consequences” from U.S.

Mar 25, 2024

Over the weekend, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris warned against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invading Rafah. She spoke to Rachel Scott of ABC News.

Vice President Kamala Harris: “We have been clear in multiple conversations and in every way that any major military operation in Rafah would be a huge mistake.”

Rachel Scott: “A mistake, but would there be consequences if he does move forward?”

Vice President Kamala Harris: “Well, we’re going to take it one step at a time, but we’ve been very clear in terms of our perspective on whether or not that should happen.”

Rachel Scott: “Are you ruling out that there would be consequences from the United States?”

Vice President Kamala Harris: “I am ruling out nothing.”

This comes as Israel continues to carry out attacks across Gaza, where the death toll has topped 32,200. This is a Palestinian man named Younis Kassab in Rafah.

Younis Kassab: “Israel does not want a ceasefire. Instead, it wants to continue exterminating the Palestinian people. This is what Israel and America are planning simultaneously. They do not want a ceasefire. … Israel seeks genocide against the Palestinian people, and particularly the Gaza Strip. And this is a crime.”


China, Russia Veto U.S.’s “Ambiguous” Conditional Ceasefire Resolution at U.N. Security Council

Mar 25, 2024

At the United Nations Security Council, China and Russia on Friday vetoed a Gaza ceasefire resolution drafted by the United States. China’s Ambassador to the U.N. Zhang Jun criticized the text because it did not actually demand a ceasefire.

Zhang Jun: “The final text remains ambiguous and does not call for an immediate ceasefire, nor does it even provide an answer to the question of realizing a ceasefire in a short time. This is a clear deviation from the consensus of the council members and fell far short of the expectations of the international community. An immediate ceasefire is a fundamental prerequisite for saving lives, expanding humanitarian access and preventing greater conflicts.”

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield criticized Russia and China for vetoing the resolution.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield: “So, let’s be honest: For all the fiery rhetoric, we all know that Russia and China are not doing anything diplomatically to advance a lasting peace or to meaningfully contribute to the humanitarian response effort.”

Bernie Sanders, AOC Among Lawmakers Who Opposed $1.2 Trillion Spending Bill over Defunding of UNRWA

Mar 25, 2024

President Biden has signed a $1.2 trillion spending package to keep the federal government open until October. The Senate approved the appropriations bill 74 to 24. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders voted “no” because the bill stripped funding to UNRWA for the next year.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Tens of thousands of people are starving. UNRWA is trying to feed them. And the Israeli government and its allies, like AIPAC, spend much of their time lobbying to defund UNRWA, the major organization which is feeding starving people. Sadly, tragically, many members of Congress seem to be happy to be part of this starvation caucus.”

In the House, the spending bill was approved 286 to 134. New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who voted “no,” accused Israel of committing genocide during a speech on the House floor.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “If you want to know what an unfolding genocide looks like, open your eyes. It looks like the forced famine of 1.1 million innocents. It looks like thousands of children eating grass as their bodies consume themselves, while trucks of food are slowed and halted just miles away. It looks like good and decent people who do nothing, or too little, too late. It is against United States law to provide weapons to forces who block United States humanitarian assistance. And that is exactly what is happening right now.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is in Washington for meetings with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and others. Axios is reporting Gallant is coming with a “long list of U.S. weapons Israel wants to receive in an expedited manner.”

Gaza Solidarity Protests Fill Streets of Dublin, Santiago and Other Large Cities

Mar 25, 2024

Protests continued around the world this weekend. In Ireland, tens of thousands of people marched in Dublin to demand a ceasefire and freedom for Palestinians. In Chile, members of the Palestinian community, which is believed to be the largest Palestinian community outside of the Arab world, gathered with allies to call on President Gabriel Boric to break off all diplomatic relations with Israel.

Nicolas: “We stand with the oppressed and against the oppressors. We are here to say, 'No more crimes against humanity, so we protest. No more relations with the criminal state of Israel, which insults our nation.'”

Activists Protest Metropolitan Museum’s Complicity in Israel’s War and Occupation of Palestine

Mar 25, 2024

Here in New York, hundreds of activists gathered outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art to demand the prestigious museum and its board members cut ties with companies that benefit from Israel’s assault on Gaza, and commit to helping “preserve Palestinian cultural heritage sites being destroyed by Israel.” Activists displayed a massive 30-by-50-foot quilt on the steps of the Met. Modeled after the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the Palestine quilt pieced together works by 64 global artists on the theme of “From oppression to liberation, free Palestine.”

Senegalese Opposition Candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye Leads Early Election Results

Mar 25, 2024

In Senegal, early results from Sunday’s presidential election put opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye in the lead. At least five of the 18 other candidates already conceded to Faye, who is backed by the popular opposition figure Ousmane Sonko, who himself is barred from running. But former Prime Minister Amadou Ba, who has the backing of outgoing President Macky Sall, said he expects the vote could head to a runoff. A final provisional vote tally is expected Tuesday. Supporters of Sonko and Faye took to the streets to celebrate nonetheless.

Dakar resident: “I say it’s great, because it’s democracy that’s winning. Everyone thought it would never happen. Today, if these results are indeed confirmed, it’s Senegal that absolutely wins.”

Sunday’s vote had been rescheduled after President Sall sought to delay the election, leading to large protests and accusations of an attempted power grab. Sonko and Faye were released from prison just days before the election, after Sall granted the men amnesty.


Russian and Ukrainian Attacks Hit Energy and Oil Targets

Mar 25, 2024

Residents of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, are facing rolling blackouts as Russia continues a wave of strikes against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. On Sunday, Russia hit an underground oil gas storage site. Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces are continuing to attack Russian oil refineries despite a warning not to do so from the United States. The Financial Times reports the Biden administration fears the attacks inside Russia could drive up oil prices and provoke retaliation. Ukraine also hit two more Russian ships and a communications center used by Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

150+ Kidnapped School Children Rescued in Northwestern Nigeria

Mar 25, 2024

In Nigeria, at least 130 kidnapped school children from the northwestern state of Kaduna were rescued Sunday after more than two weeks in captivity. Previous reports had put the total number of students closer to 300, but officials said the total was actually 137. On Friday, the Nigerian Army rescued 17 students kidnapped in the far-northwestern Sokoto. At least 1,400 students have been abducted since 2014, with armed groups demanding ransoms for their safe return.


Brazilian Police Arrest Suspected Masterminds of Marielle Franco’s Assassination

Mar 25, 2024

In Brazil, police arrested two politicians and Rio de Janeiro’s former police chief in a major breakthrough for the investigation into the 2018 assassination of Marielle Franco, an outspoken Rio councilwoman and activist. Investigators say brothers Chiquinho Brazão and Domingos Brazão — who also both once served on Rio’s City Council and remain in official positions — are suspected of masterminding the assassination, which also killed Franco’s driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes. Former Rio police chief Rivaldo Barbosa is accused of obstructing investigations into the fatal shooting. Marielle Franco had fought against police brutality and became a voice for other LGBTQ and Black Brazilians, who face discrimination. Her longtime partner Mônica Benício spoke Sunday following news of the arrests.

Mônica Benício: “Today is, without a doubt, an important day for democracy in Brazil. It is the beginning of a new struggle. We want everyone to be held responsible and everyone to be identified so that we can finally have justice for Marielle and Anderson.”

Trump’s Assets Could Be Imminently Seized by NY Attorney General Letitia James

Mar 25, 2024

New York Attorney General Letitia James could begin seizing some of former President Donald Trump’s assets today if he fails to meet a deadline to post a $454 million bond after losing a civil fraud case in New York. Last week, Trump’s attorneys said the former president faces “insurmountable difficulties” in securing the bond after more than 30 companies refused to help him. Trump’s attorneys have appealed the ruling, but a decision is not expected before today’s deadline. This comes as Trump appears poised to make as much as $3 billion as the parent company of his social media platform Truth Social becomes a publicly traded firm following a merger last week. Meanwhile, Trump is expected back in court today in New York for a pretrial hearing in his hush-money case.

Congress: Another GOP Rep. Quits; Tammy Murphy Exits NJ Senate Race; MJT Wants to Oust Mike Johnson

Mar 25, 2024

In news from Capitol Hill, Republican Congressmember Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin has announced he will resign on April 19. His seat will remain vacant until November. This will cut the House Republican majority to a one-vote margin. In other House news, Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a motion Friday to remove House Speaker Mike Johnson, just five months after he took the office after the ouster of Kevin McCarthy. In other political news, New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy has dropped out of the Democratic primary race for Robert Menendez’s Senate seat, clearing the way for Congressmember Andy Kim who is also running against labor leader Patricia Campos-Medina and community organizer Larry Hamm. Sen. Menendez, who is facing multiple corruption charges, has announced he won’t run in the Democratic primary, but hasn’t ruled out running again as an independent if he is exonerated.

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